The Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday, Sept. 29, continues to gain strength with the New York Derby winner Bankit likely joining a field that already includes top sophomores Long Range Toddy, Tax, Owendale and Mucho Gusto.
All four of the latter horses have been winners among the top 3-year-olds racing in 2019.
– Long Range Toddy won the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park as a juvenile and a division of the Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., this spring.
– Tax won the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in upstate New York on July 27. He breezed a half mile in 47.60 seconds at Belmont Park on Saturday in New York, the fourth fastest of 64 that tried that distance.
– Mucho Gusto won both the Grade 3, $100,000 Laz Barrera Stakes and the Grade 3, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita in California this spring and then pushed the best horses in the country in the 3-year-old division this summer. Trained by National Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto held his own after the weather heated up, running second to Maximum Security in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth and third in the Grade 1, $1,250,000 Travers Stakes at Saratoga to Code of Honor, who some believe is the top sophomore runner in the country.
– Owendale won the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown after losing by only 1-1/4 lengths in the Preakness to War of Will. He posted a bullet work at Churchill Downs on Saturday, breezing five furlongs in a swift 58.80 seconds, the fastest of 42 at the distance.
The Tex Sutton Air Equine charter, Air Horse One, will arrive from Kentucky at Will Rogers World Airport on Wednesday. Then the plane returns on Thursday, arriving from California, on Thursday.
Booked on the Kentucky flight are Tax, Owendale and Bankit, along with Classic Fit, who is nominated to race in the Grade 3, $200,000 Remington Park Oaks. She is a 3-year-old filly out of the barn of trainer Michael Stidham. Classic Fit won the $75,000 Hut Hut Stakes at Gulfstream Park as a 2-year-old in December.
Other horses scheduled on the Kentucky flight are: Killybegs Captain (nominated to $150,000 David M. Vance Stakes, trainer John Terranova II); Funny Guy (Oklahoma Derby, Terranova II); Chess Chief (Oklahoma Derby, breezed a half mile in 49.20 seconds Saturday for trainer Dallas Stewart); and Gold Standard (Remington Park Oaks, trainer Brad Cox).
Mucho Gusto is scheduled to arrive in Oklahoma City for trainer Bob Baffert for the Oklahoma Derby, coming in on the flight from California on Thursday.
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